Friday, November 26, 2004

Misinformation Can Mislead A Nation

RRRRIIIIIINGGGGGG!!!!! Aaarggghh! Huh?! Yawn! That's got to be my Nokia 3210 waking me up. But it's only 4:30 in the morning, why should I wake up at such an early hour? Oh! I remember! We have some very important guests arriving today at the office. Gotta be there before 8:00. Hhhmmmmmm! Get up! Get ready! But first, let's log onto the net and read the morning's fresh news.

Uh-oh! Is this bad? Despite the warning issued by Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board Chairwoman Ma. Elena Bautista about the possibility of revoking the franchise licenses of those who would join the transport holiday, the militant transport groups are still hell bent on staging the transport strike. Luckily, there's still the reliable LRT and/or MRT to bring me to my destination.

After breezing through my reading, I showered then dressed for work. I almost forgot, I should wear a pastel-colored long sleeved polo instead of my usual attire of short-sleeved barong. Damn! I would be wearing my tie again once I got into the office.

Getting out of the house, I hailed a cab and told the driver to please bring me to the North Station of the MRT. After throwing away his cigarette and rolling up the window in the driver side, we were off. On our way I happen to catch a glimpse of stranded commuters, mostly students. College students, I supposed, because I overheard from the TV while on the way out of our house that most of the students of basic education (elementary and high school) has their classes suspended because of the transport strike.

Passing through the Caloocan High School, I can't help but wonder about the news headline I've read just a few weeks ago regarding the alleged erroneous textbooks being used in public schools. My mom works for a private academic institution while I finished my secondary education from a public school, so I have a pretty good idea about the difference between the textbooks being used in both academic institutions. I'm just curious as to who might be at fault regarding this textbook scandal? The teachers, who supposed to teach accurate information to their students, can they be the culprits? The school heads, which supposed to monitor the classroom instructions being done by the teachers, can they be blamed for this?

Oh great! A red light at the intersection, just what I need, damn! It's already 7:05 am, man! Will I be able to make it to the office before 8:00? Hmmmm, so many uniformed students standing along the sidewalk without any jeepneys in sight. I coughed up a question to the cab driver, "manong, malala ho ba yung strike? daming stranded, ah!". The driver glanced at me and said, "may mga nagkalat kasi ng pako sa Monumento kaya yung mga iba ayaw ng tumuloy. Ako nga eh, galing ako ng Munoz yung nasakyan kong dyip kanina biyaheng Monumento-Munoz pagdating namin sa Balintawak ako na lang yung pasahero kaya tinanong ko kung hanggang dun na lang ba siya. Sabi sa akin hanggang Biglang Awa lang daw siya kasi may mga pako sa Monumento." Now I know and just nodded my head in agreement, good thing for me I didn’t wait for the jeepney and go on my usual route.

I once again plugged my earphone and proceeded to discern the culprit behind the textbook scandal. But wait, before anything else, what would we expect from the students who had used the same textbooks before? Where are they now? I remembered that I was one of the recipients of the first government subsidized textbooks. I belonged to the first batch of graduates of the Secondary Education Development Program (SEDP) of the Department of Education. Were our textbooks the same with the alleged erroneous ones? If so, then we could have been misinformed. We could have missed some accurate information. Maybe the world isn't round after all!

If the teachers were at fault because they had overlooked something, are they to blame? I have friends who are now teachers themselves, if we happen to have used the same textbook as of that alleged wrong or bad textbooks now, how can they be blamed? Are they incompetent teachers because they are using bad textbooks to teach their students and they don't know that it was an erroneous textbook? How about the school heads? Maybe, but most of the school heads who approved the use of these textbooks are either talking with San Pedro now or just too old to even remember approving such things. Misinformed students, misinformed teachers, misinformed graduates who used the bad textbooks, what can we expect of our leaders?

One of my schoolmates during college ran for councilor during the last elections and won. If we both belong to the misinformed generation, then one of the leaders of this country is misinformed. Is that bad?

My neck's aching...oooppsss I have napped inside the cab. Where are we, anyway? Hey, that's SM North. Just a few more minutes, I wonder how much would I be paying? P25 plus P2 for every kilometer...whoa! I forgot, it's already P30 initially and then P2.50 for every kilometer. That's in the headline a few months ago. Now I remember a transport strike was likewise held just a few months ago demanding a fare increase from the old P4 to P5.50, reason: the high cost of oil and petroleum products.

What is it this time that the militant transport groups are asking? Another round of fare increase, perhaps? Nah. The issues raised by the strike leaders this time are particularly contentious, or so they say. They want a rollback of gasoline and diesel prices, which have risen nearly a dozen times over the year. But for an oil-importing country like the Philippines, that's like asking for the moon. Since we do not have enough energy resources of our own, we are captives to oil exporters who can and do set petroleum prices according to their own requirements and the movements in the world market.

The striking transport workers are also demanding the repeal of the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Law. Instead, they propose that whenever global oil prices rise, the government should step in and subsidize the pump prices of gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products. And where do the transport sector militants think the government would get the money to support fuel prices at levels favorable to urban-dwellers like them? From everybody who pays taxes, whether directly or indirectly, including Filipinos in far-flung villages who rely on their feet for getting around and private motorists who don't take public transport, but must actually compete with these road hogs for scarce road space on a daily basis.

Walking the steps of the MRT station, I remember the time when the government actually subsidized with billions of pesos in taxpayers' money fuel prices, but the so-called Oil Price Stabilization Fund not only made the country sink deeper in debt, it also bred mind-boggling corruption.

Going back to the concerns of the transport strikers, as if a fuel price rollback and fuel price subsidies were not enough, they are also demanding the nationalization of the local oil industry. Huh?! What local oil industry is there to nationalize? The few offshore oilfields in Palawan have long ago stopped producing crude in commercial quantities. Attempts to tap oil in Tarlac and elsewhere have proved fruitless. What remains of the local oil industry are depots and distribution outlets of imported oil. Even some of our refineries have found that it makes more financial sense for them to buy refined fuel products from places like Singapore, because their refining operations here have become a losing proposition.

Finding a seat in the not so crowded MRT train, I glanced at my watch it's just 7:15. I can make it to the office before 8:00, after all. With Linkin Park's Somewhere I Belong playing in my old and reliable MP3 player, I began to wonder who is feeding such false information to this militant group? A day before this transport strike, a radio interview at DWIZ took place between PISTON president Mar Garvida and two veteran broadcast journalists. Garvida revealed during the interview that the government's refusal to do something about the successive increases in the prices of diesel and other petroleum products is the major reason why they called for the transport strike. The PISTON president further explained that the government could do something about the oil price hikes. One of the reasons for the high oil price, he said, is that the government is shipping out the crude produced from the Malampaya gas field off Palawan. According to him, crude oil produced from Malampaya is enough to provide for more than 40 percent of the country's oil requirement; thus, if the government would just use the Malampaya crude, there would be no need for the oil price increases.

Wait a minute, kapeng mainit! Malampaya does not produce a single barrel of crude oil, only natural gas. Despite the repeated explanation of the veteran broadcast journalists who interviewed Mr. Garvida, he did not budge. He kept on insisting on his belief that the Malampaya is producing substantial amount of crude oil. He would then repeat this misinformation in all of his media interviews. This is the same thing he told the members of his jeepney organization that is why they in turn was convinced to join the strike.

He does not know what he's talking about. True that there is crude oil in Malampaya. The estimate is that there is 27 million barrels of recoverable oil in Malampaya. But having it and producing it are two different things. To recover that crude oil from what is principally a natural gas reserve is a complicated and expensive process.

Mr. Mar Garvida and other militant groups should realized that and it is only now, with crude oil prices breaching the $50 per barrel mark, that extracting crude oil from Malampaya has become viable. In an interview, Energy Secretary Vince Perez said the Philippine National Oil Co. is conducting a study on the feasibility of extracting oil from Malampaya because of the jump in world oil prices.

Perhaps this is what Garvida was referring to. His issue might have been the failure of the government to make sure that the crude oil from Malampaya could be extracted to ease the country’s dependence on imported crude. However, he should understand that even if the country were able to extract crude oil from Malampaya, it would not have any impact on the prices of petroleum products in the Philippines. Malampaya’s production, whether it is natural gas or crude oil, would still follow world prices. The majority owner of the Malampaya consortium, Shell Philippine Exploration and Chevron Texaco, would not allow anything less. In fact, prices of Malampaya crude might even be higher because of the extra expenses for its extraction.

Rising oil prices are not unique to the Philippines. They are a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, if you compare prices of petroleum products in the Philippines, they are lower or at par with the prices in other countries. The price of oil is determined by two main factors: the price of crude in the international market and the value of the peso vis-à-vis the US dollar. If crude prices are high and the value of the peso is low, then the result is high oil prices. Those are the realities that we have to accept and endure.

Misinformation or is there something, perhaps someone behind all this brainwashing? Were the transport strikers real motivation is the desire to ease the plight of jeepney drivers or to just simply cause trouble? Looking out the window of the MRT as we passed through the Shrine of Our Lady of EDSA, I wonder about the workers who failed to report for work because there's no means for them to get to their destination because the misinformed transport sector brainwashed to no end by one misinformation after another refused to ply their usual routes. What a pity! The transport strikers once again failed to realize that it isn't the oil companies and government officials targeted by the protesters who would be inconvenienced. The brunt of the strike's impact will be borne by the daily-wage earners who probably lost a chance to earn a living for a day.

As the MRT slowed down to a stop at the Ortigas station, I rose from my seat and began to walk for the exit. It’s just 7:30, what a journey! And as I descend the steps, I wondered what if the driver of the MRT announced the station differently? For instance, what if instead of telling the passengers that we are at the Ortigas station he said otherwise, like Ayala station? Would the passengers bound for Ayala get up and exit the train even if they knew that it wasn’t Ayala station? Ah, can really mislead us especially if we are not aware of what is happening around us and we do not learn from the lessons of the past.

What is TEN BUCKS?

Opening my friendster account recently, I stumbled upon this post in the bulletin board from one of my best pals encouraging her friends to contribute to a notable cause. Bes, if you don't mind I'm borrowing your post so that others may know. Here it goes:

Hello. I would like to ask you guys a favor. On my way home from watching The Incredibles last week, I dropped by the nearby McDonald's to buy something to eat. I noticed that they have these kids' pics posted all over the store. Turns out, McDonald's has an ongoing program wherein patrons (that's you and me) may SPONSOR a child's EDUCATION for only ten bucks.

For only ten bucks, you can make a difference in a child's life. For ten bucks, you can secure his future. For ten bucks, you can make the world a better place.

Ten bucks. I bet you don't even notice ten bucks if its missing from your pockets. Ten bucks. Don't you waste hundreds (if not thousands) on clothes you don't even wear more than thrice? You burn 40 bucks a day on cigarettes, an average of 50 bucks just to play Ragnarok or go Cam to Cam on YM, more than a hundred bucks on a Starbucks Coffee (which you don't even appreciate; but you drink nevertheless, coz it's "starbucks"), an average of 22 bucks on text messages daily (accrdng to a recent study), and other SUPERFICIAL things that DON'T REALLY MATTER.

What matters? Charity, that's what. And education. Here, Mc Donald's have provided for us a chance to make a difference in somebody's life.

Let's not let this opportunity pass us by. This is not about YOU feeling good about giving, THIS IS ABOUT A POOR CHILD'S CHANCE TO GET TO SCHOOL.

What's ten bucks? It's a difference in a poor child's life that's worth more than a million bucks.

Come on, let's all do our share. Bes, thank you for letting me borrow your post. Ten bucks that's all is needed and a little compassion towards our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


I used to stay with my relatives in Bicol during my growing up years. I finished my secondary education in one of the public schools there, I can still remember the smooth ride my sisters and I enjoy when vacation time comes for us. We would share a story or two and chat away while at the background is the humming of the engine of the peaceful train or a speedy bus. I recall looking out the window and admiring the serene beauty of nature, back then travelling was perfect. Before you know it, it's home sweet home. Safe and sound.

Now that I am working, going to Bicol for a vacation is now like asking for the rains to drop in the deserts of the Sahara. The bus fares had gone way up, a one-way ticket ride now costs more or less a thousand bucks. The trains are so sloooooowwww, it could take you up to 24 hours to arrive to your destination (I can imagine those travelling to the Visayan or Mindanao region where one would cross the deep blue sea first).

Early this month, a Manila-bound train carrying around 400 passengers from Legazpi City in Albay slipped off its tracks while negotiating the curve in Barangay Duhat, Padre Burgos, Quezon. Over a hundred passengers were injured while six were instantly killed after getting pinned under the overturned coaches when the train they were riding plummeted down a 40-foot ravine after four of its coaches were derailed.

An investigation followed, and even Department of Transportation and Communications secretary Leandro Mendoza experienced the train derailment. While doing the rounds to check for the safety of the trains plying our railroad tracks after the crash happened, the train being ridden by Sec. Mendoza was derailed and slipped off the tracks. Lucky for them, it wasn't a very serious accident.

Meanwhile, initial findings bared that the theft of railroad spikes was the likely cause for the train crash. The Manila-bound train went off the tracks due to a "shifting" rail as the train negotiated a curve. Mendoza said the spikes that were supposed to have been holding down the railway tracks were missing. Investigators of the DOTC ruled out any sabotage in the train accident that happened which left at least seven people dead and more than a hundred injured.

Sec. Mendoza further adds, "based on observation, the color and texture of the holes left by spikes showed that they had long been missing and could not, therefore, be a part of a deliberate act to derail a passing train. There was no sign of any explosive that might have derailed the train."

The investigators for their part says that, "the rails themselves may not show any signs of damage but the rest of the railways track components, especially the wooden ties and metal spikes need replacement or rehabilitation due to aging, damage or pilferage. There were also no signs of error on the part of the train engineer."

A drug test conducted by the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on the train driver, Aurelio Leaño, was negative for any drug use.

"It (CIDG) was also found out that Mr. Leaño is a classified as a Train Driver ‘A’ and has four years of experience as train driver to back his qualifications," said Mendoza.

However, the passengers thought otherwise. The passengers claimed that the train driver if not on drugs might be under the influence of alcohol because they were travelling on a very dangerous speed. Even some witnesses testified that the train was indeed moving beyond the usual speed that's why it slipped off the tracks when it negotiated the curve in Barangay Duhat, Padre Burgos town.

At any rate, innocent lives were wasted in this accident. Whether the rail authorities is at fault or not, they must do something to prevent another unfortunate incident like this to happen. An ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure, right?

After almost 24 hours after the unfortunate train crash occurred, a Peñafrancia bus with license plates EVP-792 was on its way to Legazpi City when the driver lost control of the vehicle after trying to overtake a truck while crossing the Baluguhin Bridge in Barangay Malinao Ibaba, Atimonan.

The bus hit the concrete railings of the bridge when its driver swerved to the left to avoid an oncoming vehicle. The concrete railings collapsed upon impact and the bus plunged into the river. Reports said at least 26 passengers were injured.

Chief Inspector Roni Mirales, the town’s police chief, said the accident occurred at 11:25 p.m. along the stretch of Barangay Malinao Ibaba, Atimonan, hours after the Peñafrancia bus, with about 30 passengers on board, left its Ali Mall terminal in Cubao, Quezon City.

Rescuers meanwhile, most of them still resting after the rescue operation on the train accident, immediately rushed to the scene to assist the victims. Seven of those hurt, the Office of Civil Defense said, were taken to Doña Martha Hospital for treatment.

The driver, on the other hand, immediately fled on foot and is now the subject of manhunt operations by the Atimonan police.

As of the moment, there's still no word whether the driver has now been apprehended. In the meantime, the bus officials reassured the public of the safety of their trips.

I sincerely hope that such unfortunate incidents will not happen again. Though accidents do happen, we can prevent it by always instilling in our minds the value of one's life. Let's always practice safety in whatever we do, and also let's offer a moment of silence and prayer to the unfortunate victims of these accidents and asked them to guide our drivers so that we can experience yet another safe and sound trip. Home sweet home.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Black Eyes For The AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, established by virtue of Commonwealth Act No.1 otherwise known as the National Defense Act of December 21, 1935, stands proud as the Philippine’s guardian of democracy. It strives to maintain the freedom the country is currently enjoying and nurtures an environment where its people's well being are looked upon by the government. As its primary concern, the AFP has continued to work for freedom and unity - freedom from the threats that stirred division and chaos in the country including the communists, the secessionists and other threats.

The military ably addresses its primordial mandate as protector of the people and the state; and continues to contribute in nation-building particularly in infrastructure development, crisis management, social and humanitarian services and environmental protection.

The AFP works hand in hand with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies in all efforts to put an end to crimes and other nefarious activities.

The Filipino people now look forward to an Armed Forces that is fully mission-effective, right sized, credibly equipped, versatile and highly responsive to technological, doctrinal and sociological change. With its sincere commitment, its men and women are now ready to face and confront the numerous challenges ahead with renewed vigor, courage and aggressiveness.

From the jungles confronting insurgency, to the rural and urban centers helping people during disaster and calamities and to as far as East Timor to help our brothers in the international community, the Filipino soldiers remain vigilant and steadfast in its role as defender of freedom and democracy.

This is the Armed Forces of the Philippines, proud and ready to face the coming millennium.

Or so they say........

Not too long ago, a group of idealist officers from the AFP stormed the Oakwood Hotel in Makati City and declared they are no longer following the chain of command of the AFP. Thus, the country experienced yet another coup'd etat after the numerous ones staged by the renegade group of Col. Gregorio Honasan (who, incidentally became a Senator) and Col. Billy Bibbit.

The Reform the Army Movement of then Col. Gringo staged nine attempts to overthrow the government, however, then Pres. Corazon Aquino still managed to successfully finish her term. Then came a president from within the ranks of the AFP, Pres. Fidel Ramos was spared of any coup attempts. A former AFP Chief of Staff, Ka Eddie used his skills well in defending his post as the AFP Commander-in-Chief.

Gringo has long been gone from the AFP Corps but still the idealism he imparted to the younger generation of officers were instilled, so, when the Oakwood mutiny broke out, news has it that these young officers were under orders from the Guardian Brotherhood founded and organized by no less than Sen. Honasan.

Gringo is in hiding up to now, and the rebellious soldiers are all being court-martialed. What a black eye!

How much is the salary of a major general in the AFP? P35,000? P40,000? Okay, let's peg it at P50,000. How can a major general earning P50,000 a month own nine luxurious cars, an account in a US bank worth P43.9 million, an investment savings of P5.8 million in the AFPSLAI, and real properties in the US worth no less than $1.4 million? How was this possible?

Embattled Army Gen. Carlos Garcia has been charged with four counts of perjury before the Sandiganbayan lately. Ombudsman top honcho, Simeon Marcelo informed that Garcia was earlier suspended for six months without pay. Because, he didn't declare in his yearly Statement of Assets and Liabilities the vehicles and properties he had acquired when he was the AFP's deputy chief for comptrollership.

Garcia was accused of also failing to declare in his annual SAL the properties in Ohio and New York, USA. He failed to declare unspecified investments in military savings and loans cooperatives, and some US$193,400 (P10.8 million) in cash carried by him and members of his family to the US.

The notorious general was likewise accused of making an undervalued assessments of nine vehicles registered under his name and those of his family. General Garcia, on records, owns a 1993 Toyota Previa worth P521,797, a 1997 Honda Civic worth P564,000, and a 1997 Mitsubishi L-300 van worth P424,583.

He also failed to declare a P5.8 million in investments in the AFP's Savings and Loan Association Inc. He is currently being investigated for the $785,630 (P43.9 million) he and his family had allegedly been seeking to the US between November 1998 up to June 2004.

Garcia is also believed to own real estate properties in the US amounting to $1.4 million (7.8 million), as well as two trucks, a 2003 Honda CRV, a 1998 Toyota Hilux, 2001 Toyota Rav 4, and a 1993 Toyota.

Ombudsman prosecutors are also evaluating strong evidence toward the possible filing of plunder charges against him. Plunder or corruption involving more than $1 million is punishable by death.

Records culled from the AFP shows that there are 115,000-strong military force, with an annual budget of about P30-billion, or almost half of the allocated budget that goes to the AFP.

But despite all trials, the beleaguered General who was in full military uniform appeared to be unperturbed. Kapal mo naman!

Still on Garcia, along with several yet unnamed officers, reportedly pocketed AFP funds at the expense of ordinary soldiers in the field, including funds from the United Nations and the US.

From the government's sleuthing, investigators have also stumbled upon huge various foreign currency accounts of Garcia, wife and family.

In the latest development: "The office of the Ombudsman... has determined that a prima facie case exists against respondent Gen. Carlos Garcia and the other respondents who hold such properties.. as he acquired, during his incumbency as a soldier and public officer, huge amounts of money and properties manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officers and his lawful income."

Hence, the Ombudsman asked the Sandiganbayan to forfeit Garcia's assets amounting to P143,052.29 based on an exchanged rate of P56.30 to the dollar.

As of the moment, Garcia is being tried by a general court-martial for allegedly violating the Articles of War.

The AFP is reeling from serious charges of corruption - and worse, from among its top brass! What a black eye!

I'm no TV addict, but last Saturday I chanced upon Mike Enriquez's program in GMA 7, Imbestigador and was surprised to see two males engaging in sexual act. I glued myself in front of the TV to know more about the scandalous expose of Mr. Enriquez.

I was even more surprised when I learned that one of the men was identified as Army Major Ferdinand Ramos, Civil Military Operations commander of the Army’s Light Armor Brigade based in Camp O'Donnel in Capas, Tarlac. Maj. Ramos is now being detained and is the subject of investigation for allegedly forcing a military trainee to perform oral sex on him.

Furthermore, he has been restricted to quarters. Ramos is detailed at an army training facility in the northern Philippines. And as of the moment, the AFP is calling on all those who had been victimized by this army officer to come out in the open so that the case against this major would have more merit.

Isn't the video footage meritorious enough? All I can say is, what a black eye!

How much is $0.50 after conversion to the Philippine peso?

For a mere US$0.50, the valedictorian of the prestigious Philippine Military Academy Class 2004, who was sent to the US for schooling as a reward for topping his class, was arrested and sent back to the country.

Army 2Lt. Rolly Joaquin, a student of the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, was arrested for alleged theft by deception by US authorities after he was caught supposedly removing the 50-cent discount tag from a sale item and attaching it to a nonsale item that he purchased sometime in October. Unbeknown to Joaquin he, along with the other customers of the store, were being monitored by the store's closed-circuit camera.

The incident was reported by the Joint United States Military Assistance Group-Philippines to the Army on October 26.

Two days later, Joaquin arrived from the US and was turned over to the Army’s Headquarters Support Group for custody.

Army officials said he is now restricted to quarters and is undergoing investigation. If prima facie evidence is established, he will be subjected to court-martial proceedings just like Garcia for violation of Article of War 96 or conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman, and Article of War 97 or conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline.

"Independent of the court-martial proceedings, the subject officer can also be administratively charged under the Armed Forces’ Efficiency and Separation Board," said Maj. Vicente Bartolome Bacarro, chief of the Army public information office.

A top PMA graduate caught stealing in a foreign land, to think that the helpless Filipino taxpayers were the one who supported his studies in hope of producing a top caliber officer in the AFP, what a black eye!

"The Army leadership would like to take this opportunity to assure the public that these matters will be addressed accordingly and that appropriate punishment shall be meted out commensurate to the offense committed," Bacarro further stressed.

"These unfortunate incidents involving Army officers are not representative of the entire Philippine Army as an organization, it is not representative of the more than 70,000 Army personnel.

These are isolated incidents involving individual acts," Bacarro said.

After all these black eyes, what's next for the AFP? Just askin, folks! :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Of Faye, Ms. Evangelista, and the Others

I'm not taking any side regarding anybody's stance towards the issue surrounding Ms. Evangelista and her defenders and the others who are against her. I enjoyed reading the opinions of the "warring" (though, I know no one is at war with anybody. We don't have any weapons of mass destruction with us, right?) sides, it makes me wonder where are all of these people? Where are all these people now that the Mindoro and Bicol townsfolk are under the state of calamity? Where are all these people when the Cherry Hills tragedy struck? Where are all these people when Baguio was crushed by an earthquake? Where are all these people when Mt. Pinatubo erupted and buried the place once called the "Rice Granary of the Philippines"? Where are all these people when the Oakwood Mutiny happened? Where are all these people when the dreaded SARS and now Meningococcemia threatened several lives and killed almost all of its victims one by one? Where are all these people now that the textbooks being used by students in public schools are being questioned? Where are all these people now that another labor strike was stopped by bullets and left strikers either dead or injured? Where are all these people?

We kept on exchanging intellectual and smart "tirades" against each other, but is it helping anybody? Does the so-called attacks on Ms. Evangelista brought justice to the people who left the country to work and hope for a bright future for their family only to be abused and "packaged" back home in a casket? Does the defenses made in favor of Ms. Evangelista put the lives of those who criticized her in danger?

After reading so many posts from different bloggers around surrounding the story of Faye, her mother, BoL, Ms. Evangelista and the like I came into a conclusion that we must refer back to the time when Jesus defended Magdalene from those who want to stone her to death.

We are not perfect, we are bound to make sins, to commit mistakes. What is important is that we acknowledged these sins, these mistakes, and do our best not to commit them anymore.

Almost all of the attacks point to Ms. Evangelista as the sinner. I'm just curious as to what her sin is? I agree with those who said that Ms. Evangelista should not be sorry because she hadn't done anything wrong. Did she lied to the public when she said that she read from a national daily about the story of this young girl? The only fault Ms. Evangelista has committed, I guess as a writer is that she has taken a side without presenting the other one.

"A coin has its two sides", as they say, and Ms. Evangelista failed to give the other face of the coin. She focused on the story of this young girl, how the mother and daughter team braved all odds and still came out a winner. I was hoping that on her second article about the story, she would present it in such a way that the readers will have to judge for themselves whether the claims made by mother and daughter were true or not after hearing both parties concerned (mother and daughter on one end, and the officials concerned at the other end).

This may be true, but remember that when Jesus told this He was making reference to good versus evil. Who would choose evil against good? Ms. Evangelista, in my humble opinion, forgot that she is foremost a writer when she printed the story. If she only told such story to her circle of friends, then she is free to choose which side she is. But as a writer, you shouldn't decide for your readers. Lay out all the details of your story, present the two sides of the issue and then let your readers decide which side are they. As a writer, you should never choose one side and encourage your readers to follow you on that side. I guessed that's what happened when her second article came out, as what the other bloggers have said, Ms. Evangelista insisted that the story is true and that the readers should believe her. Just imagine what could have happened if Ms. Evangelista instead presented both sides on her second column. Saying something like, "now that i have proved that Faye is real and taking her word for it that the event indeed took place. However, the DoST, the BI and airport officials are saying otherwise. With all of this information I have gathered, I leave you the final judgment. I now rest my case." End of story. Plain and simple.

Take the case of the suppossed Fil-shams who were ordered deported by the DoJ. The players concerned are crying foul because they think the officials who made the investigation failed to seek their side. The investigators, they say, only focused on the claims made that there was an irregularity or something when they acquired for recognization as Filipino citizens. Just imagine what could have happened if we won the basketball competition during the last Asian Games wherein our men's basketball team was bannered by these so-called Fil-shams.

I may not agree with Ms. Evangelista, Rev. Bong, and the others totally but still i respect their stand about the issue, just like I also respect the opinions of those who are against them. Ms. Evangelista felt that she could make a difference by bringing to light the unsung heroes of our generation. What if the story was indeed true after all? She trusted every word the mother and daughter told her, she risked so many things just to prove that this young girl really existed and that this young girl is indeed one of those unsung heroes of our time.

For now, we all have to move on and stopped this bickering. Ms. Evangelista has done her share, she had found her cause. How about us? Have we done our share? Have we found our cause?

It's easy to say that I'm doing my share by attacking other people with insulting comments and below-the-belt tirades or that this is my cause. And then another will say I'm doing my share by defending those who were attacked by insulting comments and below-the-belt tirades or that this is my cause. It's easy to put the blame to another person, but what good will come out of it? We would just go through a cycle where one attacks and the other defends, one would blame another person and then the other would retaliate by pointing a finger to another person, who would benefit from this cycle? If only we can divert this very enlightening and intellectual attacks and defenses to a more notable cause, like the erroneous textbooks being used by students in public schools or the lobbying for more quality shows aired on TV, would it be much beneficial and helpful to everybody?

With this I rest my case.

The Best Out-of-Office Reply

1: I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail
to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.

2: I'm not really out of the office. I'm just ignoring you.

3: You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the
office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything
at all.

4: Sorry to have missed you but I am at the doctors having my brain
removed so that I may be promoted to management

5: I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send
me until I return from vacation on 4/18. Please be patient and your
mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

6: Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for
the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

7: The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is
unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try
sending again.'(The beauty of this is that when you return, you can
see how many in-duh-viduals did this over and over).

8: Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queueing system.
You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in
approximately 19 weeks.

9: Please reply to this e-mail so I will know that you got this message.
I am on holiday. Your e-mail has been deleted.

10: Hi! I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your
PC for my response.

11: Hi! I'm busy negotiating the salary for my new job. Don't bother to
leave me any messages.

12: I've run away to join a different circus.

13: I will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks for medical reasons.
When I return, please refer to me as 'Loretta' instead of 'Steve'.

Can you think of anything else?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Welcome Everyone!

In my corner, I keep on dreaming
A day will come I'd stop wondering.
Only happy memoirs with you will spring,
Though i have to let go of this feeling.

In my corner, I am the king
No one dare invite me for questioning.
Everyone believes my every word,
Though at times my remarks are very bold.

In my corner, I laughed and cried
Nobody shared the pain i have.
The smile is often suppressed inside,
Though everyone knows im still in love.

In my corner, I prayed so hard
I admit my Lord I've been very bad.
Accept me once more, I'd be Your follower
Just get me out of this lonely corner.

Welcome everyone! This is My Corner and you are with Short Talk!